Let’s call it choice, not having it all!

bal·ance –  noun ˈba-lən(t)sGravity Glue

: the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall

: the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling

: a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance

When did work-life balance become having it all and doing it all perfectly? Perfectly is not in the definition above for balance. No wonder we are all stressed trying to fit into this new notion that we should be able to stay in a state of pure accomplishment at all times! Balance is giving all areas of your life equal importance, but not necessarily at the same time in the same moment. See #1 – spread the weight so you don’t tumble. So, let go! It is truly impossible to be there for your kids, boss, husband, community, teachers, coaches, sleep, exercise, work, keep a household, cook, shop and retain your sanity at the same time.  I believe that you can have balance, but you cannot have balance if you are trying to juggle everything at the same time at warp speed.  

In Debora Spar’s book,  Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, she discusses the challenges of today’s women and how it is a mistake to tell us that we could have it all.  “Feminism,” Spar says, “was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we feel we can do anything, we feel we have to do everything.” She goes on to say: How did we get here, trapped into a very small corner by a movement that was supposed to free us? When did being good become being perfect? And, most importantly, where do we go from here? As women in leadership, it’s up to us to bravely raise these questions and, most importantly, demand answers and fight for solutions.

I agree with her points and think we need to rid ourselves of the so called Mommy Wars and quit thinking that any choices are easy choices and won’t have good and bad moments. When I was a stay at home mom, there were many moments I longingly reminisced about my life in the office (with grown ups), and no responsibilities but to my company and my self. Once I started working again, but from home, I had to make my kids understand the boundaries of my work, yet also remain accessible to them. A balancing act for sure, but it is what works for me, my family, and where I am in my life.  And isn’t that what most of us are trying to balance?

So, let’s support the choices our sister-women are making: support those that aim for the top corner office while we applaud those that sit in the corner with the toddler. After all, women still physically have to deliver the baby, so no matter what career track or mommy track you are on, the physical demands of your gender will call! That is until the men can have the babies, then we have a whole new issue. Hmmm, I plan to balance that thought with the choice of red wine!

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  1. Kelly Franck on February 9, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Hi Natalie! I really enjoy your insights! Great article — I can totally relate!!! Also, per your last blog entry — wanted to share a similar concept/group – http://myoneword.org. I am still trying to pick my word, but want it to be perfect, so I am stuck – ha!

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